Skip to main content

Search Google Appliance

Search Google Appliance

Decision No. 15,626

Appeal of H.G., on behalf of his daughter J.G., from action of the Board of Education of the Manhasset Union Free School District regarding personnel matters.

Decision No. 15,626

(August 13, 2007)

John J. McGrath, Esq., attorney for petitioner

Ehrlich, Frazer & Feldman, attorneys for respondent, James H. Pyun, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the Manhasset Union Free School District (“respondent”) regarding the alleged misconduct of a chemistry teacher, the Superintendent of Schools (“Superintendent”), and the Coordinator of Science and Technology (“Coordinator”).  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2005-2006 school year, petitioner’s daughter, J.G., was enrolled in chemistry in the Manhasset High School in respondent’s district.  By letter dated September 20, 2006, petitioner filed a formal complaint against her chemistry teacher, the Superintendent and the Coordinator with respondent’s president concerning J.G.’s chemistry class the prior year.

By letter dated November 9, 2006, petitioner restated his concerns. Specifically, petitioner alleged that the chemistry teacher used a Regents review book, rather than a textbook, to teach Chemistry and failed to return a June 29, 2006 telephone call.  The letter also accused the Superintendent and Coordinator with unprofessional conduct.  Petitioner asked for the process whereby a formal complaint could be placed in school personnel files.

By letter dated November 22, 2006, respondent’s attorney detailed that respondent met in executive session on November 15, 2006 to review petitioner’s allegations and to meet with the teacher and Coordinator.  Respondent determined that no probable cause existed to prefer disciplinary charges.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner contends that during the November 15, 2006 meeting, respondent only met with district administrators and faculty members -- not with petitioner or his wife.  Petitioner requests that I order formal letters of complaint be placed in the personnel files of the teacher, Superintendent and Coordinator and that respondent acknowledge this action in writing. 

Respondent claims that petitioner has failed to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted because the Commissioner is without authority to place complaint letters in a personnel file.  Respondent denies any wrongdoing and asserts that petitioner did not meet his burden of proof.  Respondent also argues that the appeal must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties and that petitioner has no right to demand a meeting with respondent.

I must first address issues concerning the record.   The purpose of a reply is to respond to new material or affirmative defenses set forth in an answer (8 NYCRR §§275.3 and 275.14).  A reply is not meant to buttress allegations in the petition or to belatedly add assertions that should have been in the petition (Appeal of E.R., 45 Ed Dept Rep 487, Decision No. 15,389; Appeal of Ramroop, 45 id. 473, Decision No. 15,385; Appeal of C.R., 45 id. 303, Decision No 15,330).  Therefore, while I have reviewed the reply, I have not considered those portions containing new allegations or exhibits that are not responsive to new material or affirmative defenses set forth in the answer.

Petitioner claims that respondent’s memorandum of law was untimely. The record shows that respondent timely contacted my Office of Counsel to request an extension and that no prejudice against petitioner has been shown.  Accordingly, I have accepted respondent’s memorandum of law.

The appeal must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties.  A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of a petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Samuel, 45 Ed Dept Rep 418, Decision No. 15,371; Appeal of Meringolo, 45 id. 128, Decision No. 15,281; Appeal of Kelly, 45 id. 38, Decision No. 15,253).  Joinder requires that an individual be clearly named as a respondent in the caption and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition to inform the individual that he or she should respond to the petition and enter a defense (Appeal of Samuel, 45 Ed Dept Rep 418, Decision No. 15,371; Appeal of Meringolo, 45 id. 128, Decision No. 15,281; Appeal of Kelly, 45 id. 38, Decision No. 15,253).  Petitioner requests that I place letters of complaint in the personnel files of the teacher, Superintendent and Coordinator.  If this relief were granted, the rights of these individuals would be affected.  None of these individuals were named as a respondent in the caption of the petition nor were they served with the petition or notice of petition such that they would have been on notice that they were a party to the appeal and required to submit an answer.

In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE